Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox Predictions & Pick

Chris Sale gets the ball for the Red Sox on Friday as the Texas Rangers come into town. Which side of the total should you be backing? Matt Zylbert breaks down his pick.
Matt Zylbert
Fri, August 20, 9:53 AM EDT

Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox Predictions & Pick

Texas Rangers at Boston Red Sox

Over/Under: 9

First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

Probable pitchers: Dane Dunning (5-7, 4.06 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (1-0, 3.60 ERA)

Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox Predictions

Rarely has there been a total at Fenway Park as high as 9 during the Red Sox tenure of Sale. Considering how he looked in his first start back on a Major League mound, this is a beautiful buy-low spot.

When he’s on his usual game, there’s no question Sale is one of the premier left-handers in all of baseball. Sure, it had been a couple of years since Sale last appeared in an MLB game prior to his outing last Saturday but the seven-time All-Star performed like he never even left.

Sale etched five sharp innings that saw him yield only a pair of runs while racking up eight K’s compared to zero walks. That’s enough for me to buy into Sale being back in his signature dominant form

For those that question the toughness of the opponent in that first assignment on the year (Orioles), well, it’s not like it gets any difficult, as he is facing the Rangers.

Without Joey Gallo — the club’s franchise slugger — Texas clearly isn’t really close to being the same lineup. This offense is also by far everyone else in runs scored since the Midsummer Classic intermission, plating just 86 runs in 31 contests. That’s a mere 2.8 runs per game, and as it is, they struggle against left-handed pitching

Given the high over/under to work with, an expected gem from Sale — who won’t be on a strict pitch count, either — does wonders for an under proposition. That means the other starter in this series opener, Dunning, has to not get torched.

Boston’s batting order can be dangerous but I trust Dunning through what has been a solid first campaign with Texas. Even as nice as his overall numbers appear at first glance, he’s arguably been better than that, pitching to a 3.55 FIP that is more than a half run lower than his 4.06 ERA.

Dunning has managed to prove himself in his new digs despite a highly uncommon .336 batting average on balls put in play against him. That will obviously go down.

The 26-year-old enters this assignment in a groove, too, having not yielded more than three earned runs during any of his last eight turns. Factoring in that he’s been tagged for more than four runs only twice in 21 starts this season, Dunning is a, err, done deal to avoid getting rocked.

Pick: UNDER 9 (-104)

Leans

Twins-Yankees Over 10

Tigers-Blue Jays Under 9.5

Phillies-Padres Under 9

2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “65-57-8,” +1.11 units

Yesterday’s Result: Angels-Tigers Under 9.5 (loss)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

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Matt Zylbert
@MattZylbert
Zylbert has been writing about baseball over/under bets for nearly a decade, attaining notable success in just about each season. Throughout the last three years, the veteran gambling analyst has amassed a 307-239-25 (56.2%) record on regular season totals while always recommending to flat bet every game for one unit.
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